Scientists at Purdue University may have discovered a new method for predicting solar flares more than a day before they occur. This way you can get an early warning of the dangers and protect satellites, astronauts, and infrastructure of the Earth from potentially harmful radiation.
New warning system analyzes the differences in gamma radiation, which is emitted when the atoms decay of radioactive elements. This decay rate is constant, but the latest research results put this into question.
Scientists have hypothesized that says that the rate of radioactive decay is changing under the influence of solar activity, possibly due to the flow of subatomic particles, neutrinos from the Sun. A hint of this came when, in 2006, researchers found that the rate of decay of a radioactive sample slightly changed over the 39 hours before the start of a large solar flare. Since then, scientists have carefully studied a similar change in the rate of decay before and after solar flares, as well as in the Earth's rotation around the sun, the rotation of the Sun and variations in solar activity.
The results of the two different laboratories showed clear annual changes in the rate of decay of radioactive isotopes of chlorine-36. In this case, the highest rate of decay was observed in January and February, the lowest — in July and August.
Used observations from July 2005 to June 2011. Annual fluctuations is simple: when the Earth is on, it receives less solar neutrinos and the decay rate of a little slow. When the Earth is closer to the sun, or solar flare occurs, the number of neutrinos grow and decay accelerating.
It should be noted that the role of neutrinos in the phenomenon — a hypothesis. Since neutrinos have virtually no mass and charge, physicists believe that they do not interact with other particles. So that the cause of the decay rate fluctuations may be other unknown particles.
This discovery allows the development of a new method of predicting solar flares. You do not need flown expensive equipment — appropriate detector can be constructed on Earth.